Company Overview: Not a mystery shopping company per se, this business entity connects shoppers with many available assignment opportunities with other mystery shopping companies.
Previously known as Kern Scheduling Services from 1998 to 2001, this scheduling company now goes by the name of KSS International. The business is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was started by Lori Kern, President and CEO, and is the oldest and largest scheduling company. It coordinates assignments in the US, Canada, UK, Latin America, and the Bahamas. KSS International claims it schedules more shops than any other company on the Sassie platform.
KSS International also states that it scheduled more than 1 million assignments in 2010 for over 80 MSCs.
The type of assignments available vary as much as do the MSCs. Typical assignments include banking, alternative financial services, and retail.
Monetary payments are made via PayPal by the actual MSC.
Signing up with KSS International is straightforward. Visit their website at www.kernscheduling.com and click on “New Shopper Sign Up”. You will encounter the typical Sassie-type application, so signing up is easy and logical.
No shops are submitted on the KSS Sassie site. Their site is a recruiting tool only. Jobs are first posted on the site of the MSC that KSS is scheduling for, then later their own. Either navigate to the MSCs job board to apply for jobs directly, or respond to the assignment email announcements sent out by KSS International.
One common complaint on the www.mysteryshopforum.com regarding KSS International has to do with an extended application process before assignments are awarded. Going along with that, forum members report that at times jobs will be closed out on an MSCs board yet will show as being available on the KSS job board. Shoppers feel that information about job availability is stale and outdated.
Forum members also report inconsistency in their experiences with different schedulers at KSS International. For the most part, shoppers report few problems. Yet some believe that there is a disconnect between some of the schedulers and shoppers, with a lack of understanding on the part of the schedulers as to what is required of a shopper. Most posters have shared positive experiences, but there were a few comments on the forum about unpleasant or rude schedulers.
One other topic that creates negative feedback is the use of hero citations versus providing bonuses. The majority of shoppers feel that these citations are useless, and once again demonstrate that schedulers really don’t understand the needs of the shopper.
Personal Experience: So far I have completed almost 100 assignments through KSS International, mostly banking and alternative financial services. I haven’t run into any issues. Interactions with schedulers have been professional and effective. My email communications with this MSC have been reliable and prompt.
I have to give KSS International a shout-out for how they worked with me during a recent personal emergency. My heavily packed schedule could have been a sheer nightmare to rearrange. But all KSS reps worked with me with courtesy, kindness, and respect. I am very appreciative of their understanding and tolerance, even though my situation caused them much inconvenience.
It is permissible to open up negotiations for distance or bonus pay, and schedulers have been fair in regards to this. Don’t hesitate to contact a scheduler when you are building routes and can pick up an assignment in an out-of-the-way place.